Hacks for easy calorie counting

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Replies

  • lynn_glenmont
    lynn_glenmont Posts: 9,556 Member
    I love the analogies. They are so wrong it is hilarious. Here is one. You accept the science that the Earth rotates and the Sun illuminates the Earth in a 24 hour cycle. The human response to this is called the circadian rhythm. You have a brand new Apple Watch that reflects that. However, you do not look at the watch but go to work when you feel like it and sleep at different times each day. Everything is working great. You got a raise and a promotion. But, are you operating on the circadian rhythm. I don't think so.

    Yes, you would absolutely be operating on the circadian rhythm. Waking up when the sun rises (or some consistent amount of time before or after) seems much like operating on the circadian rhythm than setting an alarm on a watch that ... what? Is using some generalized formula for human circadian rhythms? Is sampling your pulse and temperature throughout the day to try to figure out your personal circadian rhythm?
  • coderdan82
    coderdan82 Posts: 84 Member
    kshama2001 wrote: »
    I think it's easier to log foods found in the USDA database in the "SR Legacy Foods" tab, which are primarily whole foods.

    Unfortunately, the green check marks in the MFP database are used for both USER-created entries and ADMIN-created entries that MFP pulled from the USDA database. A green check mark for USER-created entries just means enough people have upvoted the entry - it is not necessarily correct.

    To find ADMIN entries for whole foods, I get the syntax from the USDA database and paste that into MFP.

    https://fdc.nal.usda.gov

    The USDA changed the platform for their database in 2019 and it is unfortunately a little more difficult to use. I use the “SR Legacy” tab - that seems to be what MFP used to pull in entries.

    Note: any MFP entry that includes "USDA" was USER entered.

    For packaged foods, I verify the label against what I find in MFP. (Alas, you cannot just scan with your phone and assume what you get is correct.)

    Here I am complaining about how the usual way is too much work and you go ahead make the hard way look easy :smile:
  • coderdan82
    coderdan82 Posts: 84 Member
    Any change will have some kind of adjustment period, and it will be uncomfortable because it's new. I think accepting that at the outset helps the mental game a little. It feels hard because it is hard, not because you're doing it wrong. (Mitigation strategies can still be worth it, but any habit change requires effort, especially at the outset.)

    I think you've hit the nail on the head. I just have to accept it's going to be more work. I do use a scale and I've tried pre-logging in the past. It's the measuring itself that I find cumbersome.
  • coderdan82
    coderdan82 Posts: 84 Member
    I'll let you in on a little secret.

    Calories - input and output - are always estimates.

    Being consistent in counting matters more than being precise. Precision can definitely matter, but I don't use a scale at all, use cups and spoons to keep my portions in check and do some guesstimates where I make sure I take a higher rather than lower entry.

    It's been a year. I'm a healthy BMI. I started as obese. It's fine.

    So, that's my hack. I don't worry about being precise at all. I just log and let the over and under estimates average themselves out over time.

    I do try to be very precise. Maybe I should loosen up a bit. Thanks.
  • coderdan82
    coderdan82 Posts: 84 Member
    i keep my meals quite similar so all the items i use stay on my recent list. i also keep breakfast the same until i finish the package of whatever i am eating.so if i buy one type of bread at one week,and eat it with a slice of cheese, i will eat this as breakfast until the cheese package is empty and the bread is over. Then i will pick something else to eat for a while (like a different type of bread with jam) and i will eat this as well until they're both over.Then switch again.

    I've kept my meals similar as well but I didn't rotate very often. That's probably part of the problem - my food gets more monotonous when I'm counting calories.
  • coderdan82
    coderdan82 Posts: 84 Member
    There is a trick I use when I'm not tracking nutrients precisely. For dishes that have many similar ingredients and are not in my recipe database, I sometimes log a group of them as one ingredient. For a salad, I'll log any fats or proteins separately, then log all the vegetables as the highest calorie vegetable in that salad. I just weigh all the vegetables and log them as "tomatoes", for example. Same for dishes that have one prominent ingredient and many lower calorie ingredients. I log a vegetable pilaf as "rice" (plus any fats and proteins).

    Now that's a hack worth adopting.
  • coderdan82
    coderdan82 Posts: 84 Member
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    I think that not ever eating things you can't accurately count is one foot on a slippery slope to dysfunction: For example, I've seen people here say they're completely unwilling to have dinner at a friend's house, or go to a party with food, or eat in a non-chain restaurant. I wouldn't be willing to live that way, personally, at least not for long. IMO, calorie counting accurately enough somehow needs to be compatible with a well-rounded life, including social eating. Just my opinion, though.

    Yup, that was exactly my mentality. I didn't go as far as not having dinner at a friend's house but I would avoid eating things I liked or cooking the way I like if I couldn't accurately count it. Or I'd eat it and then think "well, my calorie count is all messed up for the day, I might as well not log until tomorrow".
  • wunderkindking
    wunderkindking Posts: 1,616 Member
    coderdan82 wrote: »
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    I think that not ever eating things you can't accurately count is one foot on a slippery slope to dysfunction: For example, I've seen people here say they're completely unwilling to have dinner at a friend's house, or go to a party with food, or eat in a non-chain restaurant. I wouldn't be willing to live that way, personally, at least not for long. IMO, calorie counting accurately enough somehow needs to be compatible with a well-rounded life, including social eating. Just my opinion, though.

    Yup, that was exactly my mentality. I didn't go as far as not having dinner at a friend's house but I would avoid eating things I liked or cooking the way I like if I couldn't accurately count it. Or I'd eat it and then think "well, my calorie count is all messed up for the day, I might as well not log until tomorrow".

    I think that it's important to remember that, quite aside from the fact that the calories out portion of what you are given for exercise, or life at your age/gender/size are statistical averages--

    When you are actively losing, your deficit is a cushion against 'error' and 'I can't log this' or whatever.

    Even if your loss is set to only half a pound a week you would have to be off by 1700 calories over the course of a week to even be out of a deficit. You would have to be off by your base calories, 1700 calories a week, AND ANOTHER 3500 calories to gain a single pound.

    I am actually all about people using a scale and going for all the precision if they feel it helps them and they're comfortable with it. I accept that some people are not okay estimating as much as I do and some people estimate more.

    But I think in all cases knowing the rough math for how far off you would have to be to even stall your loss - never mind gain - is pretty powerful stuff. Yes, logging errors stall people, sometimes. Yes, if you get too inattentive portion creep can be a thing. But. It's never going to be the result of one meal, or one day, or in most cases even a week. It's the cumulative effect of a pattern of being off in similar ways, regularly, over a period of time.
  • wilson10102018
    wilson10102018 Posts: 1,306 Member
    My point exactly. If you aren't counting calories you aren't following the science of CICO.
  • wilson10102018
    wilson10102018 Posts: 1,306 Member
    edited August 2021
    My point exactly. If you aren't counting calories you aren't following the science of CICO.

    It's literally the opposite of your point though?

    It is physically impossible to not "follow the science" of CICO, the same way it's not possible to "not follow the science" of gravity.

    You're joking, right? If one jumps up and down and claims that they are not following the science of gravity, that is exactly the same as a person who fasts and binges and says they lost weight but are not following the science of CICO. If it doesn't come down to the calorie count for you, are you one of those metabolism acolytes or fasting persons who says the calorie count doesn't matter?
  • glassyo
    glassyo Posts: 7,069 Member
    Lietchi wrote: »
    glassyo wrote: »
    My point exactly. If you aren't counting calories you aren't following the science of CICO.

    *sigh* Are you doing this intentionally?

    The science of CICO is true for everyone. Loss= eat less than you burn, gain = eat more than you burn, maintain = eat the same as you burn.

    How a person gets there is a completely different thing. CICO will always be there if you log your foods or just eat to satisfaction or eat exactly what you're told to eat.

    His issue is with the strategy people choose, not CICO itself.
    He believes that if people believe in CICO as the determinant of weight loss, the only possible strategy can be calorie counting or they don't 'really' want to lose weight. At this point, after several replies to the contrary (from me and others) I believe further discussions are pointless 😛

    LOL yeah. That's why I pointed all that out. Maybe badly?:)
  • MercuryForce
    MercuryForce Posts: 104 Member
    My point exactly. If you aren't counting calories you aren't following the science of CICO.

    It's literally the opposite of your point though?

    It is physically impossible to not "follow the science" of CICO, the same way it's not possible to "not follow the science" of gravity.

    You're joking, right? If one jumps up and down and claims that they are not following the science of gravity, that is exactly the same as a person who fasts and binges and says they lost weight but are not following the science of CICO. If it doesn't come down to the calorie count for you, are you one of those metabolism acolytes or fasting persons who says the calorie count doesn't matter?

    Is the point you are trying to make that you think that "being aware foods have calories" is the same as counting calories?
  • sweetsiepop
    sweetsiepop Posts: 3 Member
    edited August 2021
    I like to measure everything for one big meal then make it a recipe on the app and divide it by 4 to give me 4 lunch meals for the week. Each meal may be slightly larger or smaller macro wise each day, but at the end of the week it equals the recipe total macros. For example my favorite easy meal to make is kimchi fried rice, so I will measure every component of the dish prior to cooking it such as 2 cups of rice, kimchi, veggies (I used a lot), tablespoon of oil, spices/ginger/garlic cloves, and the sauce I make. Instead of figuring out exactly how much is a serving I just use a spatula to cut the evenly spread rice into 4 servings and fill my bowls. I usually top them with fried eggs or tofu which I add separately and do not include it in the recipe (they are their own recipes).
    On weekdays I skip making breakfast and I usually eat a Chobani less sugar greek yogurt, a prepackaged serving of raw nuts, coffee and a serving of fruit. Or if I crave hot breakfast I take two slices of Dave's killer bread, fry two eggs with about 1/4th tsp of olive oil, and add a slice of cheese and lots of pepper. I always stick to the same brands and types as well so I can just search my frequents. My snacks consist of about 5 things, such as: cheese sticks, fruit, nuts, raw crunchy veggies, and yasso bars so they are really easy to search and log throughout the day. I always keep them stocked and listen to my body, only eating a snack if I am actually hungry between meals. I love dark chocolate so I also keep them stocked and on the frequent list since I have green tea and a 86% chocolate square about every other day as a dessert. I guess for me, this is easy... but probably confusing to others. I believe it's a lot easier to count macros once you form habits that are right for your life and needs. Prepackaged healthy snacks (greek yogurt/apples/nuts/cheese) have made it so much easier for me especially when I am feeling lazy.

    Another thing, I have not weighed food once during my weight loss journey. I feel my measuring cups and spoons do just fine since I lost 30lbs last year doing so. Right now I am trying to get even more thin but I want to do so in a way that is sustainable for me. If I were to start weighing food now I doubt I will stick to it once I reach my goal weight. The way I eat now I can see myself continuing as I love the foods already and don't feel deprived.
  • paperpudding
    paperpudding Posts: 7,985 Member
    My point exactly. If you aren't counting calories you aren't following the science of CICO.

    It's literally the opposite of your point though?

    It is physically impossible to not "follow the science" of CICO, the same way it's not possible to "not follow the science" of gravity.

    You're joking, right? If one jumps up and down and claims that they are not following the science of gravity, that is exactly the same as a person who fasts and binges and says they lost weight but are not following the science of CICO. If it doesn't come down to the calorie count for you, are you one of those metabolism acolytes or fasting persons who says the calorie count doesn't matter?

    Is the point you are trying to make that you think that "being aware foods have calories" is the same as counting calories?


    But it isnt.

    One can be perfectly aware that foods have calories and one needs to be in a calorie deficit to lose weight- and then create that deficit by some means other than counting calories.
  • MsCzar
    MsCzar Posts: 902 Member
    I like to measure everything for one big meal then make it a recipe on the app and divide it by 4 to give me 4 lunch meals for the week. Each meal may be slightly larger or smaller macro wise each day, but at the end of the week it equals the recipe total macros.

    I do the same with things like egg or tuna salad, chili, meatloaf, meatballs, pasta and taco components since I'll usually eat those things over several days.